Friday, April 5, 2013

Can You Haiku?

In keeping with National Poetry Month, we're going to talk a bit about haiku, a Japanese form of poetry. It's one of the simplest when you look at it because it is classically three lines with a 5-7-5 syllable count for the trio. It's an old form dating back hundreds of years.

When first begun, haiku nearly always dealt with the seasons in some way. Like all things, these short snippets of a poem have evolved to a contemporary mode which still highlights nature and the seasons but also other things, as well. 

I got interested in haiku when a writer friend gave a presentation at a conference. She made it seem so easy. That night as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, words kept jumping over fences instead of sheep. I started composing  little haiku poems. One I liked so well that I got up and wrote it down. I knew I'd never remember it the next day. 

Some of today's haiku are serious while others inject a bit of humor. My state authors club annual contest has a separate category for haiku poetry. I've never had the courage to enter any of the ones I've written but maybe this year I should do so. Who's to say what is a winner? We never know til we submit. 

A good site I found on more about haiku--what it is and how to write it along with some examples can be read here. Give it a good read and then try writing your own haiku. This next site will show you poems from ancient Japanese poets. Reading them shows us how much alike our worlds are in some respects even though hundreds of years have elapsed.

I'm going to close with four of the haiku I have written. Can you haiku, too? Absolutely! Give it a try. It's really a lot of fun to create these little three line poems. Punctuation is up to you--use it or not. Same with subject matter but this is a perfect time to write about spring, isn't it? Send us one in the comments section.

feather floats softly
on gentle autumn breeze
bird flies, loss unknown

a pear tree in bloom,
beautiful cherry blossoms--
springtime sneezing machines

tall grass brushes sky,
prairie flowers, gold and flame--
a painting by God

trembling hand grasps cane
diamond ring circles finger
her life’s chain of love

 That night 

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